WEEDSPORT — The loudest cheers of the night came late in the fourth quarter when the Warriors had the game well in hand.
First, roars came when senior reserve Natalie Procino knocked down a pair of 3s with only minutes remaining. Then, minutes later, more cheers when another senior, Julianna Buchmann, drained a 3 of her own.
Even for a team with title aspirations and a near-perfect season, the most excitement came when bench players had their time to shine on senior night.
Weedsport girls basketball earned its 18th win in 19 games by beating Tully 62-25 Thursday at Weedsport High School, with the Warriors bouncing back from their first loss of the season suffered Tuesday at Onondaga.
While returning to the win column was nice, Weedsport was more excited that players normally in smaller roles were able to contribute.
"Everybody on the bench, that's what they wanted. They wanted those kids to shoot 3s and make 3s, and they did," Weedsport coach Chris Vargason said. "It's kind of exciting and fun, especially senior night. Any time the kids are having fun, that's what it's all about.
"There's eight seniors, and they're getting ready for the next step of their careers with college and all the other things. They're a great, fun group to be around every day. They work hard, but they have fun. I'm having a lot of fun with this group."
Two other seniors were Weedsport's top scorers on the night; Brooke Hammersley had a team-high 17 points while Cassi Carroll added 14. Procino finished with eight points and Sydney Gilfus chipped in with seven.
It wasn't a perfect start for the Warriors, who fell behind 7-2 in the opening quarter. That sluggish start prompted a timeout, and that timeout kickstarted a 29-5 run for Weedsport heading into halftime.
The Warriors continued to roll in the second half, upping their lead to 47-18 at the end of the third quarter before emptying the bench for the fourth.
It was a strong return to form for a team that had no interest in making losing a habit after taking one on the chin against Onondaga.
"(Onondaga) had a good game. It was their senior night, so tonight we knew exactly what they were feeling," Carroll said. "You just want to go out there and have a really fun game. We wanted to redeem ourselves on our senior night."
Weedsport has one more game, Monday at Pulaski, before sectionals. Then the real journey begins as the Warriors will try to add a section title to their resume.
"We're not ready for sectionals until we go up and play Pulaski," Vargason said. "I'm ready, but we'll see. We'll be in the gym tomorrow, Saturday, we'll play Pulaski and then get ready for sectionals."
Carroll honored for scoring mark: The Weedsport senior forward joined an exclusive club in a win over LaFayette on Feb. 2, and during halftime against Tully, she was honored.
Carroll became the sixth player in Weedsport girls basketball history to score 1,000 career points, picking up 27 —a career-high — in a 68-45 win over the Lancers.
"It was with a lot of my teammates' help," Carroll said. "Any one of us could've gotten it. We all play a lot, we all score a lot. I thought it was pretty special because it could've happened for any of us."
After adding 15 points Tuesday at Onondaga and another 14 Thursday against Tully, Carroll is quickly rising up Weedsport's all-time scoring ranks. Since joining the 1,000-point club, Carroll has already surpassed Karen Case (1,009) and former teammate Jeslyn Files (1,024) for fourth in the program's scoring history. Next up is Brittany LaForce, who sits at 1,035 career points.
Vargason credits Carroll for filling in a number of different roles during her varsity career.
"Cassi over the years has played different positions for us and you can count on double digits in scoring and rebounds," Vargason said. "She consistently tries to get better every day. She's a very humble person and tries to do whatever she can do for our team to be successful. She's really matured and grown into a leader."